Waterline record in Val Senales (IT)
After gusts of up to 100 km/h made it impossible for Alex to cross the 650m long nylon highline in the French Auvergne, we drove straight from France to the idyllic scenery in Val Senales (Italy). At first it looked like the weather god wanted to tease us again. Heavy winds were forecast as well as rain fall.
After arriving we immediately went up to the glacier by cable car and rigged a highline from the cable car station to a peak at an altitude of 3200m. Then we rigged the 525m long waterline in the valley. When we returned the next morning, the forecast seemed to have come true...
In fact walking a slackline covered in ice is anything else but pleasant. I did try to walk this 105 meter long highline in snowfall and a few degrees below zero, but before doing so I had to pull myself across the line first to free it from the 5 centimetres of snow that covered it. In addition to snow and ice there was another challenge: the slackline and its backup had to be tensioned very tightly because of its relatively low height of about 25 meters, which makes walking more difficult. In conclusion no walk in the park, but a good preparation for the 535 meter long waterline, which I tried to send straight after returning to the valley.
Lake Vernagt is located at 1689 meters above sea level and is surrounded by high alpine mountains with glaciers. It changes its colours all the time and is a dream location for a long waterlines.
As the anchor points were pretty low, we had to pretension the slackline to 8 kN. However, everything is relative, because 5 years ago 8 kN at this length were regarded as very slack and the line would have been tensioned to 20 kN, which equals 2 tons!
Luckily I can still cope pretty well with tight lines and managed to walk up to the middle at my first attempt, where I made an exposure turn towards the spectators that had assembled at the bank of the lake after falling into the icy (5 degrees centigrade) water. Thanks to my short neoprene I didn't even get cold after my second fall so that I could try the way back feeling warm and confident.
There was a light breeze during the whole walk, which stabilizes the slackline. In the middle I bounced into the water and during the last 20 meters I was accompanied by the local marching band, which was funny. It was rather suboptimal that the slackline had four full 360 degree twists, which had all collected in front of me. Luckily I was able to eliminate them one by one by putting one foot on the other side of the line and finally reaching the anchor point. After sitting down it was only the 2.5 meter long Anaconda pully system that was between my friends' embrace and me. A number of curious onlookers also came to congratulate me.
All in all I spent an awesome time in Val Senales and it surely won't be our last time to have been there.
A big thanks to everybody involved and all the help from the local people! It was a pleasure to work with everybody here, the hospitality (especially the food) was simply amazing, thank you!!!
Length: 535 m
Base tension: 8 kN (nearly like in the good old days ;-) )
Sag: 10 m
Tensioning system: Anaconda pulley system
Webbing: Dyneema 34 g/m (Elephant Slacklines)
Sending style: one direction (half man)